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‘It’s wrong’: Mount Charleston parents outraged over school’s looming closure

Updated May 15, 2024 - 12:18 pm

Lundy Elementary’s two-room schoolhouse has meant a lot to the class of around 15 students that filters in and out of its walls every year. Now, it’ll likely be a casualty of Tropical Storm Hilary — the storm that damaged much of the surrounding roads, trails and water systems.

The K-5 school is the only one in Mount Charleston, a Clark County town of about 500 people where the only major buildings aside from homes are the fire station, a library and the school, which was named after a longtime custodian.

Attributing the decision to the storm and subsequent flooding, the Clark County School District’s interim superintendent sent a letter Friday to parents announcing the trustees’ recommendation to close it. The district didn’t answer further questions about the extent or cost of the damage.

Since August, students have been bused to Indian Springs Elementary School, which means approximately a 40-mile or 50-minute commute for children as young as 5.

Jessie Thompson, a resident of the Old Town neighborhood who hoped to one day send her 4-year-old and 7-month-old daughters to Lundy, said she plans on home-schooling them when the time comes.

Her neighbors are devastated at the thought of losing the community feel of the school, where all grade levels would work collaboratively and mentor one another.

“The flood had such an impact on the community, including an emotional impact on the kids and the families,” Thompson said. “The thought of closing the school is just adding to that burden.”

Thompson and several other parents said the school district hasn’t been open about its plans to close Lundy for good. Many thought the school would be open for the fall semester, she said.

“It’s wrong that they’ve kept parents in the dark as long as they have because they haven’t allowed parents the time to make plans for the upcoming year,” Thompson said. “They dropped the ball.”

Parents unsatified with district’s lack of transparency

For parents with students who attended Lundy before Hilary hit Mount Charleston, they had one less option this past school year.

Katie Reeh tested out home-school for her fourth grade son but decided to send him to Indian Springs when his grades were suffering. After the flooding, Reeh said her family didn’t have running water for 75 days and the road in front of her house was destroyed.

Weather, especially in the winter months, can be extreme in Southern Nevada’s mountains.

There were days when Reeh kept her son home from school because she didn’t feel comfortable with him riding the bus during a blizzard, she said.

Reeh is one of a handful of parents considering petitioning for their children to attend a school they aren’t zoned for that is closer in distance.

“It was really a huge adjustment for my son to wake up and get ready for school at 5:30 to catch the bus at 6:15,” Reeh said. “I ended up having to bite the bullet and put him back in Indian Springs.”

And Reeh isn’t the only unsatisifed parent. Anthony Armas, a Mount Charleston resident who has a second grader at Indian Springs, said he wasn’t impressed with the school district’s involvement in community meetings about flood recovery after Hilary.

“Not a single time did they send a representative,” he said. “All the other agencies were here, and they never showed up.”

No one at the district was available for comment on the criticism late Tuesday.

Armas said his son is sick of the long commute to Indian Springs. He’s glad he has a few more years to make a decision about where to send his son to middle school, but said he and other parents will continue to fight to keep the mountain school open.

“They’re trying to keep us out of the loop completely,” Armas said. “But we’re not going to make it easy for them.”

It’s unclear when the district will make a final decision about the closure of the school.

Contact Alan at ahalaly@reviewjournal.com. Follow @AlanHalaly on X.

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